Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016 — Urchin Creating a Mess


Today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon fell quickly into place.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

I wish all readers a happy and prosperous New Year replete with engaging puzzles.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


1a   Look at // Gerard oddly (6)

REGARD* — anagram (oddly) of GERARD

4a   Alienate // sergeant badly (8)

ESTRANGE* — anagram (badly) of SERGEANT

9a   Said, “every seven days” // in a feeble manner (6)

WEAKLY~ — sounds like (said) WEEKLY (every seven days)

10a   Scheduling // sting around parking area (8)

S(LOT)TING — STING (†) containing (around) LOT (parking area)

11a   Undisguised present // in that place (4,5)

OVER T|HERE — OVERT (undisguised) + HERE (present)

13a   Somewhat horrible attempt // to sound like a sheep (5)

_BLE|AT_ — hidden in (somewhat) horriBLE ATtempt

14a   Confess about big dish // making a mess (11)

S(PLATTER)ING — SING (confess) containing (about) PLATTER (big dish)

18a   Street kid // put integers out of order (11)

GUTTERSNIPE* — anagram (out of order) of PUT INTEGERS

21a   Reportedly lousiest // sausage (5)

WURST~ — sounds like (reportedly) WORST (lousiest)

22a   Unfortunately, train isn’t // on the way (2,7)

{IN TRANSIT}* — anagram (unfortunately) of TRAIN ISNT

24a   Children’s game // concerning herder (3,5)

RE|D ROVER — RE (concerning) + DROVER (herder)

I spent a moment or two stalled at a RED LIGHT before realizing that the wrong children's game had popped to mind.

25a   Each // dessert eaten by fighter pilot (6)

A(PIE)CE — PIE (dessert) contained in (eaten by) ACE (fighter pilot)

26a   Unpaid worker, flushed, // reacted to a promised treat (8)

SLAVE|RED — SLAVE (unpaid worker) + RED (flushed)

27a   One wearing trousers // works with a brush and oils (6)

PA(I)NTS — I ([Roman numeral for] one) contained in (wearing) PANTS (trousers)

Note to British readers: In North America, the word "pants" would generally mean trousers rather than underwear.


1d   Stir about who /is/ dwelling in town (3,5)

RO(W HO)USE — ROUSE (stir) containing (about) WHO (†)

2d   Left inside seriously // rasping (8)

GRAVE(L)LY or GRAVEL(L)Y — L (left; abbrev.) contained in (inside) GRAVELY (seriously)

3d   Again illuminated // inside of barrel itself (5)

_REL|IT_ — hidden in (inside of) barREL ITself

5d   Field events turned // obvious (4-)

SELF-EVIDENT* — anagram (turned) of FIELD EVENTS

6d   Groove with a snare, as // “Roots” (9)

RUT|A|BAG|AS — RUT (groove) + (with) A (†) + BAG (snare; literally, as a verb) + AS (†)

Scratching the Surface
Roots is an American television miniseries based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family; the series first aired on ABC-TV in January 1977.

7d   Dancing, Daniel // performed perfectly (6)

NAILED* — anagram (dancing) of DANIEL

8d   Momentous after the first // number (6)

_EIGHTY — [W]EIGHTY (momentous) with the initial letter deleted (after the first)

12d   Pick grain with the old-fashioned // detector (8,3)

ELECT|RIC E|YE — ELECT (pick) + RICE (grain) + (with) YE (the old-fashioned)

15d   Right poet, wrong // line (9)

TIGHTROPE* — anagram (wrong) of RIGHT POET

16d   Nineties excited // scientist (8)

EINSTEIN* — anagram (excited) of NINETIES

Albert Einstein[5] (1879–1955) was a German-born American theoretical physicist, founder of the special and general theories of relativity.

17d   Dad’s carrying eagle’s tail // plumes (8)

F(E)ATHERS — {FATHER (dad) + S ('s)} containing (carrying) E (eagle's tail; final letter (tail) of eaglE)

19d   A prison division’s // prizes (6)

A|WARD|S — A (†) + WARD (prison division) + S ('s)

20d   Top-notch // vocalization of “Grey Day” (5,1)

{GRADE A}~ — sounds like (vocalization of) GREY DAY

Scratching the Surface
"Grey Day"[7] is likely just a convenient figment of the setters' imaginations, although it is the title of a pop song recorded by British pop/ska band Madness which reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart in 1981.

23d   The Greeks’ first //  mountain—that’s a laugh (5)

ALP|HA — ALP (mountain) + HA (that's a laugh; You really believe he'll repay you? Ha!)


The title of today's review is inspired by 14a and 18a.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Falcon, you are doing well to get a puzzle out on this last day of the year.

    A great puzzle to end the year. Took a bit longer than usual. Lots of anagrams but I had forgotten 18a so that took a bit. Good use of "confess" in 14a. 26a took a bit more time than usual even though I knew "flushed" right away. Liked 1d and 15d inn particular.

    Happy new year to all the puzzlers!

  2. Good morning,

    I agree with Carl's favourites. Might add 5d. Happy new year!!


  3. Happy New Year's everyone! It must be a busy day, few have had a chance to enter any comments. As Falcon notes, it was quite easy today. Maybe a New Year's Eve present from C&R? I don't think I've ever seen 26a in a puzzle before. Will we be waiting with bated breath for the puzzles next year?

  4. Good day Falcon and fellow puzzlers!

    Great little puzzle to end 2016. Last one in was 13a. Knew the answer but did not see it "hidden" in the clue.

    Best wishes for the upcoming year to everyone and many thanks to Falcon for all his efforts to keep us entertained.